An Archbishop gets it wrong

Archbishop Nichols has recently claimed that “the basic safety net” of welfare has been “torn apart”. Has the Archbishop read any of the statements from DWP, or studied the figures from the Treasury?

If he did so he would find that welfare spending has gone up under this governemnt, despite the substantial rise in the number of people in work, the best kind of welfare. Total welfare and state pensions spending is up by more than £26 billion a year. Welfare spending excluding penions and Jobseekers is up in real terms 2010-2014. The total spend is over £220 billion, and the welfare spend on people of working age is £94 billion. How does this amount to the end of the safety net?

It is disappointing that people in positions of authority who have benefitted from a good education should be so sloppy with their words and so remiss not to read the numbers. If the Archbishop has some better way to spend the £220 billion then that could be a useful contribution to the debate. If he really believes that spending a few million more than the £220 billion could make a lot of difference he should tell us how and why.

What is so frustrating about his type of comment is it gets a lot of airtime for a complete misrepresentation of what the government is trying to do and what it is actually doing. The government – like Labour before it – wants people in a relatively rich country to be able to live to a decent standard. It wants to help those with state money who cannot help themselves. It wants to encourage and assist more people into work so they can enjoy a better living standard without claiming on their neighbours, the taxpayers.

It is both false to imply the government wants people to suffer, and false to assume there is a further large pot of money which the state mysteriously can posses which it could spend to better effect than the £220 billion a year it is already spending.

It would be helpful if clergy gave better and clearer moral guidance to us and to their Churches on the big moral issues that come up in Parliament. If they have good ideas on welfare reform then they should state them with the detail to back them up. It would also be interesting to hear how much of the wealth of the Church, accumulated over the centuries, the Archbishop thinks they should share with the poor. They might also like to comment on their view of equal opportunities for women and the role of women in the workplace.

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122 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Well said, I will forward this to Twitter and Email it to the BBC daily politics, and hope it gets as much air time as the original statement by Archbishop Nichols!!!

    • Jennifer A
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Bishop gets it right, actually.

      He knows what he’s up to.

      Trying to be the ‘nice’ party didn’t do any good, did it. Labour are going to get away scot free and the Tory party in no way serves its natural supporters.

      • sjb
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        “Half a million people have visited foodbanks in the UK since last Easter and 5,500 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition last year.

        One in five mothers report regularly skipping meals to better feed their children [...][1]

        Now that 27 CofE bishops appear to have followed Nichols lead, it will be interesting to see whether this prompts an anti-Anglican rant. Of course, the number may have been even higher when one remembers those CofE bishops that have already jumped ship.[2]

        [1] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/27-bishops-slam-david-camerons-3164033
        [2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8116921/Five-Anglican-bishops-quit-Church-of-England-for-Rome.html

        • Hope
          Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          In 2012 Cameron and Clegg gave them a 5.2 percent pay rise more than anyone on an “average wage”. Receiving £26,000 net is more than most people earn. The Lib Dumbs were strongly behind this and Ashdown had difficulty on TV explaining to a woman why she should work for less than she would get on welfare!

          More cuts to welfare is needed so it pays to work. Stop fiddling with young people so they do not count as unemployed and stop migration so these jobs go to those starting on the job ladder.

          • uanime5
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            In 2012 Cameron and Clegg gave them a 5.2 percent pay rise more than anyone on an “average wage”.

            As inflation was also increasing at 5.2% this means that in real terms benefits didn’t increase.

            Receiving £26,000 net is more than most people earn.

            Those in work can also receive £26,000 in benefits.

            More cuts to welfare is needed so it pays to work.

            At present it only doesn’t pay to work between 16 and 37.5 hours per week for minimum wage so what cuts are required?

        • Jennifer A
          Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          SJB – Then clearly we have too many people in Britain. Competing for too few jobs and at too low a rate of pay. There is also the matter of mothers having to make up for the failings of absent fathers.

          Do you think we can carry on saving the world without such an impact on our people ?

          As Hope says. £26k (tax free) is far above what most working people get so it won’t be the White Dee’s suffering from malnutrition. (How does she manage the TV circuit when she’s not fit to work ?)

          The Archbishop clearly believes in lots of fanciful things – including a Magic Money Tree.

          • Jennifer A
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            PS – There is an obesity ‘epidemic’ didn’t you hear ?

  2. Cheshire Girl
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    In this instance i disagree with the Archbishop, although it is clear that some people are suffering, perhaps through no fault of their own.

    It could be argued that the Church has a duty to speak out more, both in support of the truly poor, and to remind others that with rights come responsibilities, both to themselves, their families, and to wider society.

  3. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Good article except that the good Cardinal is going to get it more correct than you on whether women should behave as men. Is it “condescending” (your word recently to me) to say for instance that letting our young women go to Afghanistan (where many get pregnant) is in my opinion simply criminal and at least to me scarcely believable. There are many women out there who worry about the box they have got themselves in, of that I am certain. Have you ever asked yourself why there are two sexes? Have you ever thought of the effect on the (traditional) family of having an unresolved duality instead of two different parents with two different roles?

    Reply I do not think it is the job of a man to tell women they cannot join the army or go on a foreign tour of duty if they wish and if they qualify.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      To reply: but then if they can just get pregnant and then escape the war in that manner, then they are not very reliable as a defense force. Other men then have to cover for them which is unfair.

      You ask why are there are two sexes? Well this is clearly because the trial and error of evolution found it was more successful to have two genders for reproduction, survival and species competition. The Archbishops might have other daft theories for this I suppose.

      An Archbishop who got it wrong surely not do they ever get anything right! And why are the CofE purple caped and mitred versions still in the House of Lords distorting democracy? They are not elected and always talk compete and utter irrational drivel on politics and so much else.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        It is highly immoral to augment the healthy but feckless by encouraging them on to a life on benefits just living off other all their lives.

        Can the Bishop not see this?

      • Bazman
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Your belief that no outside influences from society and men exist and has no effect on their behaviour and life chances is as simplistic as yourself. Explain the low number of woman engineers in the country compared to other European countries? They are to have the same chances when faced with discrimination and the old boys network? Woman like fluffy kittens and men like engines? It’s interesting how this theory of yours would apply to race and ethic groups. You just try to put and answer to you own bigotry as usual Rigsby, with any challenges ignored as if you own the facts.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply–Of society as a whole, not just men. “Qualify”? Even where there are or were objective tests they were just ignored and I don’t just mean the Army. It used to be regarded as obvious that the Police had to be a certain height and when did you last hear of a woman doing a fireman’s lift atop of a ladder? You didn’t answer my simple question why do you think there are two sexes of whom in case you haven’t noticed only one can give birth. Apart from all else, women themselves change their minds. I understand that the WI was originally founded by women to campaign that women with children should not have to go out to work.

      Reply Men also have been known to change their minds! It is dangerous making wild generalisations about all women or all men. The fact that men and women have different roles in producing children does not mean women should be banned from a wide range of activities.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply–I believe there is an opera on the subject of changing minds and it begins La Donna and as regards a wide range, Yes, but not just to copy and attempt to be identical to men. There are no good reasons for the changes of the last few decades; they come solely as a consequence of plastic sheaths and birth control pills–nothing principular that I can see. Besides, just because something can be done (letting women join the Navy for instance) says nothing about whether it should be done. Henry VIII could and did cut heads off but that didn’t make it right.

        Reply And some women fought at Trafalgar

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          It is dangerous making wild generalisations indeed sometimes – but it is hard to say very much at all without making some generalisations. Just make sure they are statistically true on average.

          Otherwise you end up say well my brothers girl friend X does this or that!

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            Almost everything you care to measure about men and women gives a different & statistically significant result:- height, weight, longevity, personal interests, running speeds, gcse a level and university choices, reading choices, car choices, hobbies, spending on cosmetics and cosmetic surgery, earnings, motivations, chances of giving up work early, health problems, chances of ever repaying the student loans, interest in math and physics, reading speeds, interest in literature, strength, stamina,

            Virtually everything is different. We should surely just judge each individual on their actual personal abilities.

            But to say woman earn less than men, so that is proof of gender “discrimination” as the BBC endlessly do is unscientific & moronic drivel.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            LOL! Most of your beliefs are based on wild generalisations to justify bigotry and quack science.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Reply To Reply–That’s true but only about 1% I would be willing to bet and I wonder how many of them actually fought as against just not wanting their men to go to sea without them. Any idea how many cannonballs the average woman could pick up? It’s a wonder Nelson didn’t have female identity lobbyists checking that each ship had 50% women.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        You are digging a hole Mr Redwood, best to stop.
        You are happy to slam the EA as hopeless in dealing with the floods, or Network Rail as hopeless financially, but they too are “wild generalisations”. I am sure there are folk working for both of these organisations who are a/very aware of their responsibilities and b/highly financially able and numerate, but GENERALLY these organisations are below par. Just like men at empathetic roles or women in combat, really.

        Reply The generalisations I permit myself are not wild!

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          One has to generalise to say anything much. But make sure it is broadly true.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Oh dear!
      Being “modern” and “politically correct” in line with your leadership, and those of the other “main” parties, you will say that either sex can do anything the other can do, and nobody can tell them they can’t. That is however clearly rubbish. Men and women are built differently both physically and mentally. This equips women better for roles requiring empathy and teamwork, and men better for roles requiring intense physical energy and a competitive spirit. Of course there are exceptions, but this is GENERALLY the case. That is why across the world, 99%+ of front line combat personnel are male. It is not discriminatory, it is borne of physical and mental build.

      Reply I stated that women – and men – need to be qualified for the task they want to do. Most of us agree that it makes sense to have women’s sports and men’s sports for example. We are not denying there are some differences. A woman would not qualify to run in the 100 metres men’s Olympic race on past and current form.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        women’s sports and men’s sports

        Especially for chess it seems!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Perhaps they need lighter chess pieces in pink shades to encourage the female take up?

          Then again perhaps woman just have more sense than to waste so long on a largely pointless game.

      • APL
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        JR: “Most of us agree that it makes sense to have women’s sports and men’s sports for example. ”

        Only when it serves the feminist narrative. It only makes sense to segregate the sexes in sport if you wish to disguise the fact that on average, men are stronger than women … in the name of Equality, feminists give us segregation.

        It’s the usual sort of feminist ‘looking glass logic’.

        Comparing the results in the London Olympics, female athletes ( who are no less determined or athletic, by the way ) would have been fifth or sixth behind their male competitors if they had competed in truly equal events.

  4. arschloch
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    John I was almost in agreement with you , especially as the bishop himself lives on handouts from his flock and in a property that would be hit by the bedroom tax, unless he has ten kids. Then i read the last para of today’s sermon and I thought instead that he desperately does need to offer moral guidance and definitely to your colleagues in the House of Commoms with its adulterers and fornicators. Then next he can start with those who condemned innocent civilians to death in an illegal war. While what about those who continue to think up more imaginative ways to help themselves to the taxpayers money in the form of their expenses? Perhaps after all that the political class will no longer be distrusted by the electororate at large

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Is a bishop not taxed on fringe benefits like a rent free palace, worth say £150,000 PA? If not why not, I would be if my company provided it? One law for them another for the cash cows.

  5. Robert K
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    As a practising Roman Catholic I was dismayed by the Archbishop’s comments as, I am sure, was Iain Duncan-Smith. Thank you for setting the record straight.

    • sjb
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you both need to practise harder ;-)

  6. Old Albion
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    It would be lot better if the clergy concentrated on the mumbo-jumbo and nonsense of religion and left politics to politicians.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Indeed, but the politicians have lots of their own mumbo jumbo, fancy dress & religions such as the Catastrophic AGW & C02 exaggeration religion and the encouraging of envy and free magic money tree religion.

    • Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      @Old Albion,

      It is often said, as you have, that the church should not get involved in politics. I would agree up to a point. Giving any church representation in Parliament is going too far. But, I have to say many, if not most political questions are also moral questions

      In a free democracy, members of the clergy shouldn’t be hesitant in making their views known.

      And neither should anyone else. If we disagree with the clergy we can say so too.

    • stred
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      When you think about it, clergy who get involved in politics deserve to be heckled. Why don’t you pop along to RCHQ next time he is gobbing off from his pulpit, and put him right.

  7. Richard1
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    This was a very foolish speech by Archbishop Nichols. It is clear he has no clue what he is talking about and hasn’t bothered to inform himself. Presumably he seeks to curry favor with left leaning media which are otherwise critical of the Catholic church, and perhaps, like the CoE its another tedious attempt to be ‘relevant’.

    Not only are speeches of this sort by senior clergy foolish, they are also immoral. There are now several million people who are trapped in dependency, shorn of dignity and infantilised by the welfare system. This Archbishop and other clergy should either support Ian Duncan Smith in his struggle against the evil of welfare dependency, or else come up with specific coherently argued alternatives.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      left leaning media – just “the media” will do really.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      There are now several million people who are trapped in dependency, shorn of dignity and infantilised by the welfare system.

      Care to provide some evidence for this. Make sure you explain how these 2.3 million people are going to get jobs when there’s only 550,000 jobs available.

      This Archbishop and other clergy should either support Ian Duncan Smith in his struggle against the evil of welfare dependency, or else come up with specific coherently argued alternatives.

      1) You’ve failed to provide evidence that welfare dependency is evil.

      2) You’ve failed to provide evidence that Ian Duncan Smith’s plans will fix any of the problems you’ve mentioned. Universal Credit definitely won’t fix anything because its been delayed for years.

      3) Why should the clergy propose an alternative when you’ve failed to provide any evidence that the previous system needed to be changed.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        That’s OK let the left argue as you do that the welfare system is fine and doesn’t need fixing, no problem having generations of worklessness no problem having people incentivised not to work. Since welfare reform has overwhelming public support the left and the clergy will be on the losing side of this debate.

        Watch Benefits Street and do another post.

  8. Nick
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    It’s far simpler.

    You want to hide what the state has done to people, making them poor and destitute.

    The Bishop is correct about the outcome, but he’s wrong about the cause.

    Here’s the stark facts.

    The state owes 9 trillion when you include the pension debts that you won’t mention. That’s 300,000 per tax payer.

    For their NI contributions a taxpayer gets 5,700 a year, which is a pension costing 150,000 pounds.

    Under your system, they are in net debt to the tune of 150,000 pounds.

    Now, if a median wage earner had been allowed to invest their NI contributions, they would have ended up with a pension fund of 836,000 pounds. That generates an income of 28,000 pounds a year, without touching the capital. However, they would still be on the hook for a fair share of the borrowing, about 40,000 pounds.

    The result is that for someone on 26K a year who has just retired, you and other MPs have made them 950,000 poorer.

    Reply I have regularly mentioned the pension liabilities. The issue you need to tackle is how would you get from an unfunded scheme which we have always had to a funded one, without one generation having to pay twice? When I came into Parliament the basic pension scheme was unfunded and I have never seen a way to get from there to funded .

    • arschloch
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      What sort of cobblers is this? “Now, if a median wage earner had been allowed to invest their NI contributions, they would have ended up with a pension fund of 836,000 pounds. That generates an income of 28,000 pounds a year, without touching the capital.” Eh he has the knowledge of the world’s capital markets to obtain a constant rate of return to generate a fund of that size? He will also need to be lucky enough to time his retirement so that annuity rates will not be against him? What about the life assurers in the UK who have a history of offering notoriously bad admin and highly charged contracts? Please also do not talk to me about the services of an IFA. On the whole their level of technical knowledge is no better than a layman’s. Their regulator is happy to boast, post RDR, that they have a qualification that is equal to the “exams after one year at university” (see the link below) even though they like to compare themselves to solicitors or accountants.

      http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/being-regulated/meeting-your-obligations/firm-guides/guide-financial-advisers/rdr-professionalism

      • arschloch
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        If your thesis is correct all of those people who “contracted out” of SERPs/s2p and invested the NI rebates in a personal pension should be looking forward to an early and prosperous retirement. The trouble is because of the problems outlined above, the empirical evidence indicates that they will not be

    • bigneil
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – you say the pensions are “unfunded” – yet a few days ago an article on another site showed (EU migrants ed) in Nottingham. Here 3 years, all he did was get a NI number, and the freebies have rolled in ever since. Now has about 100 of his family here, all the same and he admits they will have more kids just to get more money.
      As the majority of people getting a pension here have contributed in to the govts coffers through work, could you please explain how these (migrants ed), numbers increasing daily, and never contributing, are being funded NOW, never mind when they reach pension age, where they will get their continued benefits in something called other than a pension, just so we can be told “they don’t get a pension” ? I don’t begrudge anyone a pension who has earned one, but the govt is just throwing money down the drain, but due to someone signing a bit of paper, without the proper thought, we have the situation of millions of pounds just going to waste, something which govts of all parties seem extremely good at.

      “GIVE IT AND THEY WILL COME”

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        The country is going to go bust and fairly soon. That’s why Mr Cameron doesn’t seem to care much about losing the next election.

        One doesn’t need to be a Mail reader to be angry and insulted by all of this.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        According to the DWP’s own figures only 2% of all EU migrants claim benefits in the first 3 months they’re in the country and these figures don’t distinguish between those who work and those who don’t. So your claims about EU migrants coming over here and living on benefits are unlikely to be correct.

    • Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      If you think of the pensions issue in terms of money then the issue of funded or unfunded does seem to be important.
      However, if it is thought of as the consumption of goods and services the picture looks a little different. It’s difficult to save G&S. Housing is probably the one substantial exception of something which can be bought at one time and still used many decades later .
      Individuals earn their income creating G&S which are consumed as they are produced. If they save part of their income, or they lose it in tax, someone else has to consume those G&S for the economy to function.
      In our present system that someone else, in part, is the previous generation of pensioners in both G&S terms and money terms.
      Even if you changed the system in money terms it would still be the same in G&S terms.
      So the pensions problem can’t just be seen in money terms or even primarily in money terms. What really matters is that our future economy is as healthy as possible to be able to provide pensioners with those goods and services.

  9. Narrow shoulders
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The universal credit, if it ever fully arrives will make those working for minimum wage much better off than those merely on benefits so it will genuinely make work pay. It is debateable if someone who works for £12k wage per year should really take home £36k as they can under universal credit as society needs separation of earning potential to motivate. Also the universal credit system is an open invite to employers to take on low paid immigrants without training Britain’s youth.

    The Archbishop is actually refering to a more narrow definition of benefits where a claimant gets to be paid for breeding and doing nothing. The £26k cap on this which is equivalent to around £33k of earned income before tax seems overly generous. Going forward (so as not to penalise children who already exist and to pacify the vocalliberal minority) I would reduce this to minimum wage and accomodation in dormatries. They would not work for this before I am accused of a return to the workhouse.

    Workers’ housing and other living costs have become too high resulting from government benefit largesse

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      The universal credit, if it ever fully arrives will make those working for minimum wage much better off than those merely on benefits so it will genuinely make work pay.

      At present only those working between 16 and 37.5 hours per week for minimum wage are worse off than those on benefits, so the problem is minor. Also the government could introduce a law saying that total benefits will be reduced by 66p for every £1 earned, which would make work pay without having to introduce the rest of the Universal Credit.

      The Archbishop is actually refering to a more narrow definition of benefits where a claimant gets to be paid for breeding and doing nothing.

      Actually he was referring to the people who no longer have any food because the Conservatives have sanctioned their benefits for 3 years.

      The £26k cap on this which is equivalent to around £33k of earned income before tax seems overly generous.

      Given that those in work can also claim these benefits your £33K claim is completely wrong.

      Going forward (so as not to penalise children who already exist and to pacify the vocalliberal minority) I would reduce this to minimum wage and accomodation in dormatries.

      That would result in most people getting more in benefits, not less (35 hours of job searching per week would pay more than the current JSA of £70 per week). Remember that those working in minimum jobs are usually claiming housing benefit, tax credits, and child benefits so these can’t be included in any payments to the unemployed.

      Also where are all these dormitories going to come from and how will you ensure that they’ll be cheaper than the current living arrangements? Isn’t giving people a dormitory to live in the same as paying them housing benefit to live somewhere?

      Workers’ housing and other living costs have become too high resulting from government benefit largesse

      No they’ve become high because of BTL landlords and foreigners buying up large numbers of properties as an investment.

  10. ukgoldbug
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I’ve got better way to spend the £220 billion (stolen from the tax slaves of the UK). Let the real owners of the money spend it. Don’t steal it from them and then pretend you do it for our own good. It’s not a safety net, it’s a trap that creates a dependency on government and a pool of bought and paid for voters that will happily endorse any and all proposals to let them live on other peoples money.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I am glad someone else sees us as slaves, just paying taxes, to be handed over to foreign fanatics and freeloaders, laughing as they see their slaves battle through the bad weather to go to work, desperate to keep the roof over their heads and pay their bills, while the others look out of the windows of their free house, knowing, whatever happens, THEIR housing and money is guaranteed -just for getting here and saying the magic words.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Let the real owners of the money spend it.

      Most low paid workers get more in benefits than they’d save in tax cuts. So all your plan will do is make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

      It’s not a safety net, it’s a trap that creates a dependency on government and a pool of bought and paid for voters that will happily endorse any and all proposals to let them live on other peoples money.

      It if creates dependency then why do so many who work in low paid jobs claim benefits?

      Surely the best way to remove this dependency would be to introduce a living wage so those who work won’t need benefits. Odd that you didn’t recommend this.

  11. Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It wants to help those with state money who cannot help themselves.

    There are some welfare recipients who genuinely “cannot help themselves” and, of course, they should be helped. That sentiment would be shared right across the political spectrum.

    But most of those who are in receipt of welfare benefits are quite capable of making some contribution to society. Their abilities are a valuable resource which are going to waste.

    If I were an Archibishop, I’d be asking why that should be allowed to happen and why terms like NAIRU are only used away from the microphones of TV and Radio.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Perhaps he should re-read the Parable of the Talents [Matthew 25: 14-30 or Luke 19: 12-27.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      But most of those who are in receipt of welfare benefits are quite capable of making some contribution to society. Their abilities are a valuable resource which are going to waste.

      Well that’s what happens when you don’t have enough jobs for everyone.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Time to start your own busineess and employ others then Uni.
        Im sure you would be a great boss.
        It is for people who can, like you, to step up, risk all they have and launch a business.

      • Posted February 22, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Edward2,

        The level of employment in any economy is determined by the level of aggregate demand. When unemployment levels fall it doesn’t mean that those who have been unemployed have suddenly taken it upon themselves to look for a job or start their own business. But I think you know that already.

  12. Posted February 19, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Perhaps whilst the Archbishop is in Rome collecting his red hat, he could manage to find time to have a stroll around the poorer parts of the city. On the basis of visits that I have made to Rome in the past, I have always regarded Italy as a poor country with lots of beggars, often disabled, on almost every street. Other towns as one goes further south seem even worse. If he has a good look around there, perhaps he will realise that things aren’t so bad in this country after all!

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      English Pensioner you do realise that Rome isn’t part of the Vatican City, so it’s unlikely that the Archbishop will be visiting there.

  13. JoolsB
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    “If he did so he would find that welfare spending has gone up under this government”

    And that’s a good thing is it John? Maybe therein lies the problem when we have the Conservatives competing alongside Labour and the Lib Dums to see who can be the most generous with taxpayers’ money. £26,000 a year with no income tax, national insurance or council tax to pay is still a dream salary for a lot of people out there trying to do an honest days work!

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      £26,000 a year with no income tax, national insurance or council tax to pay is still a dream salary for a lot of people out there trying to do an honest days work!

      Most people who are working can also claim this much in benefits, especially if they live in London (high housing costs result in high housing benefit costs).

  14. oldtimer
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    He did the interview for a bit of self-publicity, because he is to become a cardinal, and to outbid the Archbishop of Canterbury in taking potshots at the government. The Catholic church, it seems to me, would be better employed taking a more robust approach to the problems within the ranks of its own clergy and on adapting its doctrines (eg on family planning) to the realities of the modern world. It was not a good start.

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Sorry off topic but following up recent posts – this man has to have the widest audience possible.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10647228/An-independent-Scotland-risks-becoming-eurozone-mark-2.html

    • Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Alistair Heath nearly has it right in saying:

      ” independent countries that don’t control their own currencies need to be better managed than those, like the US or UK, that print their own fiat money. ”

      Except, they are at a positive disadvantage regardless. No matter how well the UK and the USA were managed, there is no way they would be able to run the deficits they do without the benefit of their own currencies.

      If, like Germany, Scotland had no deficits then everything would be fine for them. However, if they were like Italy and France with deficits in their trade balance it would be a disaster, either in the Sterling or Euro zones, if they had to rely on the market for the sale of their debt.

      Bond buyers know the UK and the USA can never involuntarily default on debt. Scotland could default. So they would be in the same position as Greece with very high interest costs on bond sales.

  16. rick hamilton
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hardly surprising that a man who peddles a belief system should have no interest in the facts. But there is a woeful lack of facility with numbers generally in the UK. People were a lot better at mental arithmetic when we had the pounds, shillings and pence currency and didn’t have calculators. It seems fashionable to claim you are useless at maths as some supposedly endearing human weakness.

    Wasn’t John Redwood’s bid for the Tory leadership undermined by stupid people calling him ‘Spock’ because he could actually quote the correct statistics when asked? By contrast didn’t Alec Douglas-Hume – who was elected party leader long ago – once claim he worked out his finances using matchsticks? This sort of conceit by arts graduates types gets us nowhere in todays’ world.

    Britain really is a country of endless argy-bargy and rhetoric where politicians think they can win an election using blather and where the numbers are usually concealed behind a fog of misinformation if not actual lies. Ed Davey for example probably wouldn’t recognise a hard fact if it was written in forty foot high letters outside his office door.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The coalition government inherited an appalling mess, far more appalling than most people understood when they voted in the general election; because most people did not understand just how bad a mess Labour had created the coalition government has been blamed rather than Labour, and in fact Labour has been very successful in its efforts to escape the blame.

    Then the coalition government has had to follow a difficult narrow path of seeming to cut back on the government’s over-spending to reassure the markets, and in the case of its Tory component to reassure party members and supporters, while at the same time not actually making any significant spending cuts overall for fear of the economic and therefore political consequences.

    So it has been hampered in its task of putting the government’s finances back on some kind of sustainable footing, and it has been blamed for what it is generally thought to have done even when it has not actually done it; and Labour has had the brass neck to encourage and exploit public misunderstanding, and so it has managed to escape the blame for its previous mismanagement to an extent which is really quite shocking in what is supposed to be a free and educated and democratic society.

    • Posted February 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper,

      You really out to get out and about a bit more or at least read the international press. The USA had at least as bad a financial problem as the UK in 2008. The US Democrats say exactly the same things about the ‘The Democatic government inherited an appalling mess’ etc etc and say exactly the same things about President Bush as you’d say about Gordon Brown. You’d probably guess that I’m not a big fan of the US Republicans.

      But, were they really at fault to the extent claimed? Certainlynot. All politicians have to listen to their economic advisors and if they get it wrong, big time, then chaos ensues. And politics being what it is both Bush and Brown have to take the main share responsibility for the crash in their own countries.

      But when you fall down you need to pick yourself up. That’s happened in the USA where GDP is now 8% higher than the pre-crash peak. In the UK it 2% less than the peak. In Europe its much worse than that of course.

      So why don’t the Europeans and the UK government choose their economic policies on the basis of what is seen to work?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Peter Martin,

        So what are you trying to say?

        That the coalition government did not inherit an appalling mess?

        Or that coalition government did inherit an appalling mess, but everyone fully understood how appalling the mess was when they cast their votes in the general election?

        Or that they did inherit an appalling mess, but the preceding government which had developed a chronic habit of over-spending when the economy was thriving was not to blame when the cycle turned and the economy went down, so that to avoid running out of money to pay its bills it had to induce the Bank of England to start up the printing presses?

        • Posted February 21, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          “So what are you trying to say?”

          If you let me know which bits you think need clarifying I’ll have a further try but what I’ve already written seems understandable enough to me.

          I might just add that everyone can be wise after the event. There were a few who were wise before the event and issued dire warnings of what was happening in the private sector credit market both in the USA and the UK.

          But, as far as I can remember, these warnings weren’t coming from the Conservative Party. They weren’t able to say “I told you so” afterwards.

          Or, is your memory better than mine?

  18. lifelogic
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    “Dog bites man” is not news “Man bites dog” is!

    “An Archbishop gets it wrong” is not news “An Archbishop gets it right” would be a minor miracle in the “BBC think” driven UK.

    The sort of person who aspires to become an Archbishops is, almost by definition, irrational & totally unsuitable for the job – rather like most politicians alas.

  19. Bob
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with everything in your article with the possible exception of the last sentence.
    This constant drip drip of gender equality propaganda is not helpful and not needed, especially when it involve lowering standards of fitness for the disciplined services.

    Women are better at some things and men are better at others, that’s just how it is.
    If you can’t remove sex discrimination from sport then perhaps you should give it a rest.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    If I were the Archbishop I would want to keep a low profile . There have been so many scandals associated with his church it would be better not to court attention . It has always been my belief that if you are in any high office you should always be ” squeaky clean ” ; on this occasion it is so easy for him to attract the wrong kind of interest . The problems he draws attention to are often the result of very large families having to exist off insufficient income – need I say more ! ?

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The tax and benefits system is far too complex, and expensive to administer, and encourages the wrong behaviours. It badly lets down those that it should be there for, such as widows with children, such as bread winners supporting a family struck down with a disastrous illness. On the other hand it does encourage wasteland estates of hopelessness in so called social housing far away from the modern jobs market. The system discourages behaviours that would be good for all of us, such as saving, such as education to improve your chances, such as optimising where you live versus likely jobs markets. There is little to defend about the system as implemented or planned by any recent government.
    On the other hand the moral compass of the church is pointing badly out of line. Their dominance of the corrupt practises which arbitrarily decide which children should be allocated a decent state school versus those consigned to one of the worst schools in the western world is in my view evil. The way the state endorses a priest’s signature as the entry criteria to our best schools is outrageous… I PAID FOR THOSE SCHOOLS! They are hypocritical in the way they openly welcome children of any background into the church run fee paying schools. If I was a politician I would be firing shots across the bow of this.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      The tax and benefits system is far too complex, and expensive to administer, and encourages the wrong behaviours.

      What evidence do you have to support this claim? Without comparing the UK’s system to the systems used in other countries it’s not possible to determine whether the UK is too complex or expensive.

      It badly lets down those that it should be there for, such as widows with children, such as bread winners supporting a family struck down with a disastrous illness.

      It also lets down anyone with more than £16,000 in savings.

      On the other hand it does encourage wasteland estates of hopelessness in so called social housing far away from the modern jobs market.

      Well perhaps if the majority of jobs weren’t concentrated around London and the south east there wouldn’t be this problem.

      Also as housing costs more in areas with a lot of jobs the current plans to cap benefits will make it harder to live near the “modern jobs market”.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 22, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        You are in a minority of one if you think the current system of benefits is not overly complex and difficult to administer Uni.
        Everyone from the recipients to the civil servants realise what a labyrinthine mess it has become.

  22. Atlas
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I agree with the Cardinal’s point that is is the administration of the DWP which is causing people to have to use food banks just because the DWP cannot get its act together and behave humanely to claimants. There is a Stalinist streak in the administration that does not all for any slight slip on the part of claimants – yet allows the officials to cock-up without any penalty on them.

    After all, if is all going so swimmingly well as IDS spins just WHY are more people using food-banks?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      part of the problem is it takes far too long for benefits to start flowing correctly when you are entitled to them.

      if you take a temporary job, for example, when it ends it can take 8 weeks and more for benefits to start flowing again. a major incentive for folk to just stay claiming, its a rational safer decision for them.

      IDS must know by now its not going swimmingly. He must know his IT and business change programme is a disaster. BUT something does need doing to simplify and sort out the system.

      I would start with a much simpler system where everyone had a negative tax allowance, were entitled to tax rebates if not earning, and where all benefits and tax could be handled through a simple pre existing payroll system. Indeed the money this would save on admin could be very helpful to those that need it most. I wont hold my breath waiting for a political party to endorse this bloomin obvious suggestion though.

  23. Horatio McSherry
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “It would also be interesting to hear how much of the wealth of the Church, accumulated over the centuries, the Archbishop thinks they should share with the poor.”

    Ouch! Love it!

  24. Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Your criticism of Archbishop Nichols contains the following statements: “It is disappointing that people in positions of authority who have benefitted from a good education should be so sloppy with their words and so remiss not to read the numbers.” and “It would be helpful if clergy gave better and clearer moral guidance to us and to their Churches on the big moral issues that come up in Parliament.”

    Those charges are easy to make in this instance, but you should be wary of making them. As someone who has benefitted from a good education and is an ordained minister in the Church of England, I would refer you to vv. 1-5 chapter 7 St. Matthew’s Gospel – Christ’s stricture on judging others.

    When I commented on your posting two days ago that many current parliamentarians, by their words and actions, are in breach of Common Law, the foundation of all English Law, you wrote that my comment was “silly posturing”. You wrote that talk of Magna Carta is outdated and irrelevant in modern Britain.

    May I, then, offer some moral guidance to you, taken from the current rules of the Church of England, of which, her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Head.

    Article 37, of the 39 Articles of Religion which set out in detail the faith of the national church and which Articles were ratified by Her Majesty at Her Coronation, makes the following statement:

    “The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.”

    Now will you tell me and those who read your posts that ceding the Sovereignty of this nation, embodied in the Person of Her Majesty, as described above, to a foreign government ruled by unelected bureaucrats, is anything other than treason.

    John Wrake.

    Reply Parliament and people (in a referendum) ceded their sovereignty to the EU quite legally – against my wishes and advice – in 1973 and 1975 and subsequently in a number of Treaties and Acts of Parliament. This was no treason, though I think it was unwise.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      We were lied too by the politicians especially Heath and the signing of treaties giving away OUR sovereignty without a referendum is treason.
      One day the people will revolt. Have you seen Ukraine lately and have you read what the politician in Latvia has written.
      Europe is going to implode, probably in my lifetime and the politicians responsible should be very afraid.

  25. Robert Taggart
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Were it not for the disproportionate number of religious parliamentarians – not least on the Tory benches – this Bish’ could simply be dismissed as a fantasist.
    Why would anyone take the opinions of such proselytizers seriously ? – they spend their time promoting if not defending the unproveable !
    Give me reality and reason any day.
    Signed, Absolute Atheist !

  26. Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    In my view, state hand-outs are a replacement for the care given within families and communities. This leads to a less caring and loving society.

    Rather than promoting increased dependency on the state, surely a religious figure should be hoping for a happier society where we go back to families and communities helping each other.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      In my view, state hand-outs are a replacement for the care given within families and communities. This leads to a less caring and loving society.

      Benefits replaced hand-outs from charities because the charities were unable to provide enough help for everyone. So benefits produce a better society and should not be replaced with charity simply because it’s cheaper.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 22, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Your first sentence is absolutely right Uni.

        The conclusion that can be made is that the growth of welfare has caused the breakdown of the family.
        This is why the right believe in empowering the individual whereas the left want control over the individual.

  27. lojolondon
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    John, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said he is wrong and given a lot of airtime. The point here is that YOU believe he is wrong, but the Biased BBC believes he is right. So they put his comments onto every news bulletin, radio, TV and Web, for 24 hours, back it up with commentary from some ‘charity’ – which is a Labour-designed, populated and government backed mouthpiece for the left wing.

    David Cameron made two fatal mistakes in 2012 – not sorting the electoral map immediately he came to power, and also not making any changes to the BBC, thus ensuring that the Labour party has 100% of the ‘news’ until the next election.

    Good luck in 2015.

  28. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    While I suppport most of the governments welfare changes, I am disturbed that a number of people on the fringes are genuinely disadvantaged by them. In particular I am concerned by the effect of the “bedroom tax” on disabled people who live in adapted accomodation or need the spare room to store and use special equipment. Short term allowances provided by local government from government grants are not an acceptable alternative to long term recognition of their requirements.

  29. Neil Craig
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I am neither English nor Christian but I do not think either England or Christianity benefits from having a nationalised church.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed but they are quite amusing with their nonsense pronouncements and their fancy dress.

  30. Terry
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    So eloquently put, John. This naive corruption of the facts is why the Church should stay out of politics and vice versa. I could also suggest that the Archbishop should first go and clean up his own closet before delving into another.

  31. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I just want to say what an excellent piece, cleanly and efficiently put.

  32. forthurst
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Obviously this has nothing to do with the Archbishop’s creation as a Cardinal by Pope Francis to take place on Feruary 22 2014. In wishing to emulate His Holiness in his concern for the poor, there are unfortunately no shanty towns filled with desperately poor people, unlike in Buenos Aires, so instead he mistakenly parrots the propaganda emanating from the BBC and the Labour Party.

    Archbishop Nichols is a crusader; perhaps he needs to select his campaigns more carefully in order to sustain his credibility for when his causes are just.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, you may already be aware of this from five years ago but it seems to be of some interest in view of recent events:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/4143731/Alex-Salmond-Euro-membership-is-a-strong-argument-for-independence.html

    “Alex Salmond: Euro membership is a ‘strong argument’ for independence”

    “In an interview with Spanish television, the First Minister said there is a strong argument for making the switch as the economic crisis causes Sterling’s value to plummet.

    Mr Salmond has previously insisted that an independent Scotland would keep the Pound but, chuckling to himself, told his Catalan interviewer that “Sterling is sinking like a stone”.”

    “And I think the argument for having strong fiscal powers, powers over revenue, powers to expand the economy within a monetary context, within a European Euro context, will prove to be a very strong one for the people of Scotland.”

    “We need also in my view to be in a framework for monetary policy, a European framework, which we’re not in at the present moment, to have the best chances.”.

    But now he is telling the Scots the opposite, that the best option would be for Scotland stay in a sterling zone with the continuing UK …

    • Posted February 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Denis,

      The article you have unearthed shows that Alex Salmond is quite unaware about the way economies work. It would make little difference whether an independent Scotland went with the Euro or the Pound.

      It’s really not that difficult to understand. Importing countries like the UK and the USA need their own currencies. Import payments drain money from their economies. Governments then sell securities on the open market to get that money back and recycle it into their economies by budget deficit spending.

      The US and UK have control over that process. Their currencies float on the foreign exchanges. Bond buyers know the US and UK can never involuntarily default and so the cost of selling their debt is low. It’s not low for a country like Greece which can default. Greece is a user not an issuer of the Euro.

      Scotland would be in the same position as Greece if it were a net importer. If it turned out that an independent Scotland were a net exporter, like Germany, then everything would be fine with either the Euro or the Pound.

      • sjb
        Posted February 22, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        @Peter

        Other net exporters of oil such as Canada and Norway have purposely avoided being members of a currency union with their trading partners. Any idea why Salmond et al are so keen?

        • Posted February 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          Not really.

          If Scotland wants independence, it may as well go the whole way and have its own currency. IMO. Countries which have given up the right to issue their own currency, as in the Eurozone, have also lost much of their independence.

  34. Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS –THE IMMORAL IS INDEFENSIBLE
    David Cameron has denied that benefit cuts are plunging people into poverty, saying they actually give people “hope”.
    Considering Cameron is supposed to be Educated how can you reverse an immoral act by calling it moral . Surely the man must engage his brain before opening his mouth in future .How can he condone Atos deaths ,Poverty .Homelessness ,Food Banks ,Re-allocation through Bedroom Tax ,Benefit Sanctions ,Liverpool Care Pathway and Privatisation of Vital Services and call them Hope .
    The number of Suicides caused by these unnecessary so called Austerity Measures are mounting. Cameron is Persecuting the Poorest to appease his Money Masters by clearing the Deficit in favour of a Quality of Life ,this is indefensible .
    When Materialism overrides a whole Social Structure to such a destructive state then it is time to either give up Politics and readdress one’s own values or at least tell the truth of why you engage in such Draconian Policies .

  35. Antisthenes
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Politics and religion is not a very good mix it has and is doing considerable damage and does more to forment problems than it ever solves. However what the archbishop said was not that more money should be spent on welfare or welfare reforms were a bad thing only that welfare alone was not the answer but tackling the root cause poverty would be better. However reporting the truth by the mass media is not their priority because it gets in the way of sensationalism and that is what earns their lucre. I would take issue with him on their being high levels of poverty in the UK because by my measurement there is not that much just a lot of people who would be better off with more disposable income.

  36. Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The religious are not overly keen on the sort of virtues that we agnostics and atheists try to abide by, like speaking the truth.(examples of people from great religions who commit criminal acts ed) Plus there are two or three studies I’ve come across which show that atheists and agnostics abide by higher standards than the religious.

  37. Mike Wilson
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    If I were an archbishop on his way to Rome to be made a Cardinal – (first class flight by any chance?) – I’d be thinking about how I could convince the Pope to release the wealth of the Catholic Church and give it to the poor. That is what Jesus, who they worship and follow, said should be done.

    As for the government and the £220 they take off us and spend on ‘welfare’ – if only one had any sense from the government that waste and extravagance are being rooted out of the public sector. I have never understood why MPs do not have a brief to oversee how money is spent in their constituency.

    You Mr. Redwood should have responsibility for not only overseeing Wokingham Borough Council’s budget – you should chair a committee whose intention is to halve the budget over 10 years whilst maintaining services.

    You could start by outlawing unnecessary expenditure. Such as renewing carpets that were perfectly serviceable before year end to ‘get the budget spent’. Etc. Etc. Etc. Ad infinitum. There is no end to the ways government wastes money. I have often mentioned before that removal of duplicated roles in the Town and Borough Council could save a considerable chunk of money. But, to be honest, no-one in government actually gives a toss about spending taxpayers’ money efficiently.

    Reply As you know, I have no such power and the Council would not welcome the MP intervening like that. We elect 54 Borough Councillors to be the taxpayers’ voice

  38. brian
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    One wonders whether the Archbishop’s utterances are intended to ingratiate him with the new leadership of the Church. There are politicians in every organisation!

  39. Iain Gill
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    On another part of the web are some postings by someone who has worked all his life, in high paid work… now finding himself terminally ill needing to deal with the social security system. The catalogue of mistakes and ill treatment from the social security system is beyond belief. And yet as you say John we as a country pay a lot of money to supposedly help people like this.

  40. Tom William
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your comments, but the elephant in the room is the DWP and its local offices (Job Centre Plus – incidentally why plus?).

    I do some charity work and have had to deal with clients who are transferred from ESA (Employment Support Allowance), paid to those who are genuinely medically unfit for work, to JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). The rates of the two allowances are often identical. Yet when the DWP stops ESA it takes two weeks for the JSA to commence. True there is back pay for the two weeks without the JSA, but what is the client supposed to live off in the meantime? People who live on benefits are usually unable to budget and find it difficult to predict the consequences of the system. Why, in a digital age, can there not be an instant transfer?

    It may possible to get a short term benefit loan but inevitably this takes time, and is not guaranteed. The quality of Job Centre staff varies greatly, from helpful to thick. In some job centres there is little staff continuity and clients have to start from scratch time and again.
    To be fair to the DWP it is sometimes possible to get results by ringing them direct (at what cost?), but you need perseverance and an ability to argue a coherent case.

    A particularly stupid decision of the last government was to change the way Housing Benefit is paid. It used to be possible for it to go to the landlord direct but now it is paid to the tenant and he has to pay the landlord. The consequences were predictable. It is possible, in certain extreme circumstances, for the benefit to be paid direct, but it is not the norm.

    So, yes, there are soup kitchens and food banks in many places, but they are more a sign of official incompetence than long term poverty.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Today at my wife’s charity shop I issued a food parcel to a lady after a phone call from the Job Centre.
      She said the lady was moving from one benefit to another and there would be no payment for 2 weeks so can we give her a food parcel to “tide her over”.
      How can the DWP change peoples benefits without some transitional arrangements. The system is chaos.
      The lady by the way seems to be able to afford to smoke and this evening was in Wetherspoons but at least she will have some free food after having an aperitif.

    • APL
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Tom Williams: “incidentally why plus?”

      Simple, an utter waste of tax payers money. The facile ‘re-branding’ that the last administration were so fond of.

      Also an attempt to shrug off some bad publicity and re-brand in order to ‘cleanse’ the ‘brand’.

      It is a government office for gods sake, a turd is always a turd no matter how much polish you apply.

  41. Paul
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    When have we heard members of the clergy speak up for the working poor? It is absolutely right to defend those who genuinely cannot work but there are many people in this country with two or three jobs working 15+ hours a day who still struggle with the cost of living. Is the Church speaking up for them? I don’t think so. Too much focus is given to those who will always receive a certain level of support no matter which pro-EU party we have in power. More needs to be done for the working poor.

  42. Lewis
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Let me tell you what puzzles me.

    Welfare comes from taxation.

    Taxation is property which is taken by force … in many, many instances.

    I don’t see how a Christian can possibly square that with Commandments … esp the 8th Commandment; “thou shalt not steal”.

    ISTM that the Christian church has abandoned God, in favour of the State. It now worships at the feet of politicians, rather than at the feet of God.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see how a Christian can possibly square that with Commandments … esp the 8th Commandment; “thou shalt not steal”.

      ISTM that the Christian church has abandoned God, in favour of the State. It now worships at the feet of politicians, rather than at the feet of God.

      As Jesus once said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”. In other words pay your taxes and obey the law. So it’s no surprise that the Church supports both.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m not surprised at the Archbishop’s comments. You can hardly expect the Church to want to see the end of the dependency culture.

  44. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Another brilliant anti Salmond and SNP article in the Torygraph today. Didn’t agree with all of it but the parts deconstructing (Is that the word?) Salmond were splendid. All of a sudden I have a worry: I know the Torygraph is published in Scotland because I read it when I go fishing but are the articles I refer to edited out I wonder? I doubt it but who knows?

  45. Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    “welfare spending has gone up under this governemnt” – is that a good thing?

    Also, whilst overall spending may have gone up, it doesn’t mean that ordinary families are getting more.

    Reply I did n ot opine on good or bad, but rebutted the Archbishop who says the safety net has gone. Families are getting more benefit in the main than before, as the numbers unemployed have dropped whilst the spend has gone up. Only the few affected by the £26000 cap have lost cash, and anyone whose eligibility has changed.

  46. Posted February 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, Reply to your reply at 11.02 ” Parliament and people (in a referendum) ceded their sovereignty to the EU quite legally – against my wishes and advice – in 1973 and 1975 and subsequently in a number of Treaties and Acts of Parliament. This was no treason, though I think it was unwise.

    Your statement is not true. In 1973, When Heath signed up to entry into the Common Market, he broadcast to the country that it had no effect on Sovereignty. That was a lie, contrary to legal advice given him at the time and was covert treason, since he knew that the Common Market was a step towards political union.

    The retrospective referendum of 1975 organised by Wilson and heavily biased in favour of remaining in membership, merely reinforced the previous lie by concealing the true aims of the Common Market, which were not just about trade..

    The action of Heath in 1973, supported by those in Parliament who agreed it, was unlawful, being contrary to the English Constitution, and therefore had the nature of treason. I accept that you opposed it.

    Calling something unlawful, legal, does not excuse it or make it anything other than perverse. By definition, what is unlawful cannot be lawful.

    Those who have signed or agreed to treaties contrary to the English Constitution are treasonous or guilty of misprision of treason, for they have robbed the Queen of Her Sovereignty, given Her at Her Coronation. Her Majesty is not a façade of pomp to hide wrongdoing by Her Ministers, nor yet a tourist attraction. she is the embodiment of the sovereignty of the English people, given by them for Her lifetime, to whom you and all holding public office have sworn an oath of loyalty.

    While you hold to the legality of treaties contrary to that fact, you are breaking that oath. Parliament is not sovereign and cannot give away what it does not possess, no matter how many unlawful statutes it claims give it legitimacy.

    John Wrake.

    Reply Some of us pointed out at the time of entry and again in the Referendum that of course sovereignty was being compromised. King John or the barons are not going to reappear to enforce their Magna Carta.

    • APL
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      John Wrake: “The action of Heath in 1973, supported by those in Parliament who agreed it, was unlawful, being contrary to the English Constitution, and therefore had the nature of treason.”

      Following from the unlawful act, the Parliament acted outside its authority and the treaties are null and void.

      Following from that, the British people are not responsible for the costs or laws imposed on them by the EU, since the EU has no lawful authority in the Kingdom.

      Apart from the non performance of the other parties to the treaties ( a treaty only being a contract between states, with performance as a measure of compliance ) then other members have demonstrably failed to meet their obligations under the treaties – which are void from both vantages.

      Reply You live in a world divorced from the legal realities. The courts here and on the continent regard the Treaties as good law and judge accordingly.

  47. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    John, there is so much wording and sentence structure deviation these days as we attempt to accommodate all languages and gel them together in a hotch potch of English, you would think that a literate person would try and get it right.
    The money is being spent , but mismanaged.How can we justify 90% of a total surgery population not paying for prescriptions? How can we justify foreigners trying to slight our British qualifications whilst taking the money for our places.

    I have just had a phone call from a global recruitment firm, they did not introduce themselves , they did not tell me what they wanted , but stated that if I wanted to work for them I had to give all my details of professional qualifications over the phone , registration and full name .Firstly I have not even considered working for a global firm , I qualified for our state and expect to be remunerated by the state which gave me my qualifications ,secondly what did these people intend to do with my PIN no etc ? How much money were they going to take out of our system using my qualifications?
    It is only a few years ago that overseas locum GP’s were getting thousands of pounds a week , whilst our nurses were getting a couple of hundred for doing the job better in a language that the British people could understand and newly qualified Doctors from this country could not find a job . My nephew had to move to New Zealand, I did his job for £2OO/ week paid for by an overseas Dr who took thousands from the NHS .
    Whilst we continue to undermine our own qualified staff and pay so much from other Countries , we insult all the people who have paid taxes for years and years.What is wrong with our own people that they have to be so modest as to let other countries go a round about way of stealing from us?

    • Posted February 19, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I missed a little from my sentence. “and pay so much for Doctors from other Countries”.Sorry I am so angry at being continually undermined and belittled by other cultures who will not recognise our qualifications and put down the state which pays them high salaries whilst plagiarising skills from our own staff.It is a power trip designed to take over our people and some are so blind as to see it.Take over the money by little businesses all over , take out the money from the NHS and keep our own down by underpaying them and shouting their superiority. We are actually endorsing this practice .

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted February 20, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        As an addition to my comment. I complained about the rude phone call I received from the global firm and I was not on their database.They then apologised , but assumed it was someone using their name.As this sort of problem has ruined my life I must apologise to’ Global Medics’and make others aware that these sort of dishonest acts ruin peoples lives.

  48. Posted February 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Once again your reply makes light of the situation that is part of your responsibility.

    I do not look for a return of the despot who was King John. We have home-grown despots enough. I do I look for the barons who were once in the House of Lords and for those of you in the Commons to step up to the plate and do your duty to the people of this country by opposing the liars and cheats who claim powers which are not theirs.

    Your claim to have been against a thirty-year-old decision is not enough. You continue to support those who continue their wrong-doing and while you do so, you are complicit.

    I have quoted you facts which are readily available. Do you still contend that ceding the sovereignty of this nation to an unelected foreign jurisdiction, whoever agreed or signed up to it, is not treason.

    You cannot claim that the Queen gave Her assent, for you are a member of a parliament which holds that She has no choice in the matter.

    John Wrake.

  49. Simonro
    Posted February 19, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    You can’t compare total spending on social security with the real-terms support that individuals get.

    And you must know that.

    All you need is a rise in unemployment, or a fall in productivity, or an increase in the number of state pensioners, and your spending automatically goes up.

    As your government has limited the rise in income support to below inflation, lots of poor people will get poorer, especially as their wages rises are also below inflation.

    Of course it hasn’t saved significant cash, the only way you’re going to cut much off the benefits bill is to cut from the bulk – pensions. As that money goes to the core of your vote, I can’t see that happening.

    Reply Unemployment has been falling as the total cost of benefits has been rising.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Unemployment would fall faster if they government stop paying so much to create and augment it. It is immoral to do this how will they ever learn to support themselves?

  50. Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – CAMERON FOLLOWS BLAIR – MORALLY BANKRUPT
    Is Cameron getting his due deserts whilst still in office unlike the smiling (word left out ed) Blair .41 Bishops are writing to him regarding his stance on Austerity Measures causing Poverty whilst Cameron Defends them by pontificating about them giving People Hope .
    Cameron and Blair show they both have the same lack of morality concerning their ‘quatuor ‘ with Brooks and Murdoch .
    It was published in the Media and shown on the News Brooks attending Downing Street each morning at 10 am for her Briefing from Blair .Private Meetings with Blair (word left out ed) were more frequently held than Cabinet Meetings ,so where were those still in the Labour Party today when this practice was going on .
    (Other allegations left out ed)

    Reply I doubt Mrs Brooks had a daily meeting at Downing Street!

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Frank Field has been on the media today on this subject. Talked a lot more sense than the average politician.

  52. Jon
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It is disappointing that people in positions of authority who have benefited from a good education could be so sloppy with their reading and so remiss in noting what Archbishop Vincent did (or did not) actually say. I recommend taking a look this response to David Cameron’s offering in the Daily Telegraph http://cvcomment.org/2014/02/19/pms-moral-response-to-archbishops-welfare-critique-falls-wide-of-the-mark/
    Mr Redwood also brings out the usual – but misguided – view of the wealth of the church in stating that it ‘would also be interesting to hear how much of the wealth of the Church, accumulated over the centuries, the Archbishop thinks they should share with the poor.’ As someone who works for my local diocese, I am all too aware that the church is not cash-rich: the assets are largely in property. It would not do the faithful, nor those they serve in so many different ways (including the poor and marginalised), any favours or justice to sell their places of worship and parish halls from under them.

    Reply The Anglican Church has an investment portfolio of £5.5bn in this country. I imagine the Catholic Church also has a large endowment fund in Italy.

    • Jon
      Posted February 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Different diocese are very likely to have endowment funds. The diocese I work for does, as do many other organisations who invest in order to support their activities, particularly in the long term. If you want to see – rather than imagine – how the RC dioceses in the UK manage their finances you will be able to access annual reports via the Charity Commission or via diocesan websites.

      If you have not already read the article by Austen Ivereigh that I linked to, then I do recommend it. He is more informed and more eloquent than me and there is assurance there that AB Nichols was not making a dig at the need for welfare reform – which he accepts – but more at the implementation and some unintended consequences.

  53. Posted February 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    My last comment on this post just minutes ago has been removed. I presume that you did not want to reply to it.

    Since it pointed out that treason is not a matter of opinion but a crime in this country, perhaps you will explain to me why you continue to support a government which continues to impose unlawful legislation, contrary to the constitutional safeguard which I have quoted to you.

    Reply Because you are wrong! I note you do not seek to bring a case.

    John Wrake.

  54. Posted February 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    When you say that I am wrong, do you mean that I have not correctly quoted the first paragraph of Article 37? Anyone can check what I wrote, for it is printed in the Book of Common Prayer 1662, to which all Incumbents in the Church of England are required to give their assent when the are Instituted to a parish.

    When you say I am wrong, do you mean that Her Majesty the Queen has not signified Her assent to the 39 Articles of Religion at Her Coronation? I commend to you the DVD entitled ‘A QUEEN IS CROWNED’ issued to celebrate Her Diamond Jubilee, being a feature-length colour record of the Coronation in 1953.

    When you say I am wrong, are you saying that ceding the sovereignty of this nation to a foreign jurisdiction, contrary to the written words of our constitution, is lawful?

    When you say I am wrong, are you saying that stripping Her Majesty of Her sovereignty does not constitute treason?

    When you say I am wrong, are you saying that treason is no longer a crime?

    By all means, let us establish the facts.

    You are right to note that I do not bring a case against you. My purpose in writing is to achieve reform, not punishment. Living as I do, on a small pension, I do not have the resources to enter into litigation before Courts which continue to uphold foreign laws as superior to English Common Law and to support the unlawful actions of our own government. Nevertheless , my views are not unique and times are changing.

    John Wrake.

  55. uanime5
    Posted February 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Archbishop Nichols has recently claimed that “the basic safety net” of welfare has been “torn apart”. Has the Archbishop read any of the statements from DWP, or studied the figures from the Treasury?

    According to these statistics over 1 million people have a 3 year long benefit sanction, half a million now need to use food banks, 660,000 people have been hit by the bedroom tax, the number of homeless people has dramatically increased, and 2 million people have been put on the Work Programme (removing them from the unemployment statistics). Also Universal credit only has 3,200 people on it instead of the predicted 1 million and will need to write off £100 million on failed IT projects.

    So the figures do show that the basic safety net has been torn apart by the Conservatives.

    If he did so he would find that welfare spending has gone up under this governemnt, despite the substantial rise in the number of people in work, the best kind of welfare.

    Welfare spending has gone up due to house prices have gone up (increasing housing benefit) and the ageing population (pensions are considered a form of welfare so more pensioners results in higher welfare costs). By contrast many benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance has gone down in real terms.

    Also the recent figures showed that the number of people who are unemployed increased from 7.1% to 7.2%.

    Welfare spending excluding penions and Jobseekers is up in real terms 2010-2014.

    Why did you exclude jobseeker’s allowance when its only a small fraction of the total welfare spending? Also the rise in house prices and housing benefit would account for this welfare increase.

    The total spend is over £220 billion, and the welfare spend on people of working age is £94 billion. How does this amount to the end of the safety net?

    Well the 3 year long sanctions that prevent people getting any welfare are one of the main reasons why people claim that the safety net is gone. Atos’ habit of declaring people who are too ill to work as being fit to work is another reason. The fact that benefits have fallen in real terms is yet another reason.

    It is disappointing that people in positions of authority who have benefitted from a good education should be so sloppy with their words and so remiss not to read the numbers.

    You mean like you John and you claims that because a large amount is spent on welfare that everyone must have a good standard of living. The fact that the Red Cross is having to provide food to the poor for the first time since WW2 is clear evidence of just how many problems there are with the welfare system.

    John people who are suffering because of the government’s welfare cuts aren’t so stupid that they’ll believe Conservative propaganda claiming that they’ve never had it so good when they can’t remember a time when their lives have been worse.

    What is so frustrating about his type of comment is it gets a lot of airtime for a complete misrepresentation of what the government is trying to do and what it is actually doing.

    Care to explain what exactly the government is doing to help the poor. For example how is removing someone’s benefits for 3 years going to help them? How using the bedroom tax to cut their housing benefit going to help them? How is the debacle know as Universal Credit going to help them? How is declaring the sick and disabled “fit to work” so you can pay them less in benefits going to help them?

    Face it John the Archbishop isn’t misrepresenting what the Conservatives are doing, he’s exposing just how rotten the Conservatives’ plans are.

    The government – like Labour before it – wants people in a relatively rich country to be able to live to a decent standard.

    Yet introduced an apprentice wage so people could be paid a third of minimum wage and benefit sanctions that last for 3 years.

    It wants to encourage and assist more people into work so they can enjoy a better living standard without claiming on their neighbours, the taxpayers.

    Care to name something the Government is doing to achieve this. Make sure you provide some evidence which shows that these government schemes are more effective than not being on them. For example government’s own analysis showed that people not on the Work Programme are more likely to find jobs than those who are on it.

    It is both false to imply the government wants people to suffer

    Given how the Conservative MPs laughed when they heard that the poor were fighting over low priced foods in supermarkets it seems that they do enjoy people suffering.

    false to assume there is a further large pot of money which the state mysteriously can posses which it could spend to better effect than the £220 billion a year it is already spending.

    Given how useless the £5 billion Work Programme has been it’s clear that there is money that could be better spent.

    It would be helpful if clergy gave better and clearer moral guidance to us and to their Churches on the big moral issues that come up in Parliament.

    In other words you don’t want people pointing out how rotten Parliament is.

    If they have good ideas on welfare reform then they should state them with the detail to back them up.

    Surely it would also be beneficially for the clergy to point out what schemes aren’t working and to recommend that they be scrapped.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      As usual in you long epilogue rants at the end of threads, you fail to give us any ideas what your plans are to get to your socialist heaven where we have no poverty or unemployment.
      Like Venezuela presumably.
      Make sure you show where you will get the huge extra sums needed to fund your increased spending.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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